'Hopefully we can do him proud'

Tanwen Dawn-Hiscox

Tanwen Dawn-Hiscox

Deputy Editor

Head chef at The Angel in Dartmouth Elly Wentworth has paid a loving tribute to her head pastry chef and dear friend Craig Akehurst, who passed away aged 33 last month.

Craig, who left behind a girlfriend, his parents, sister and a loving team at The Angel, suffered from a rare form of malignant cancer and ultimately lost his life due to a severe lung infection.

Craig survived cancer once when he was just 15, but last year was diagnosed a second time. Although in recent months the cancer had been receding, events took a turn for the worst due to successive infections. He passed away on July 26th 2021.

'He was there for the good and the s**t times'

Elly met Craig, who she describes as her 'partner in crime,' when she joined the restaurant four years ago.

“He was there when I first started," she said, "so he was there for the good and the s**t times.”

“We’re heartbroken,” Elly said. “he was like my partner in crime. You see your staff more than you see your family so it’s really hit me hard; it’s an everyday realisation of how weird it is to be here without him.”

Whilst his physical strength had diminished considerably towards the end, Craig still spoke to the team daily, which Elly describes as “almost like a family.”

“We used to text six, eight times a day, every day. He’d always be part of the menu, during the lockdown we were in the restaurant refurbishing it, we were doing menus…”

“The restaurant meant everything to him, he helped me with GBM, everything.”

“He was a massive part of the team at the Angel. The accolades and what we’ve achieved in the past three years are thanks to Craig. We’ve really tried to be successful and it’s a credit to him, so hopefully we can do him proud.”

Despite the illness, she said, “he never complained, he was always asking how I was because he was worried that it was pressure on me not to have a full team.”

And although the pandemic stopped them from working anyway, he had always hoped to go back. 

“Every message would be like, ‘don’t worry, I’ll be there.’ You think he’s going to be here, and all of a sudden, he’s taken away. It’s sad, it’s upsetting.”

A plaque has now been erected in his memory on the wall at the restaurant and Elly is helping to raise funds for Dartmouth Caring, which provides support at home for those who do not wish for hospitce care, and to which Craig was referred following his diagnosis. You can donate directly or via the fundraising page.

“He’s always going to be there, he’s always going to be looking over us making sure we’re doing the recipe right.”

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Tanwen Dawn-Hiscox

Tanwen Dawn-Hiscox

Deputy Editor 18th August 2021

'Hopefully we can do him proud'